Five new coronavirus hotspots in England added to government watchlist

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Five new areas have been added to Public Health England's coronavirus watchlist as cases are on the rise.

Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering are all now considered areas of concern.

The latest seven-day infection rate in Leeds rose to 32.4 cases per 100,000 people.

The latest data suggest many Covid-19 cases are spread across different areas of the city, indicating they are linked to social interaction and leisure activities.

The disease is also increasingly present in younger people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Leeds locals are being urged to be extra vigilant in going to pubs, restaurants and social gatherings.

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Meanwhile Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton will be added to the watchlist as "areas of enhanced support".

However it's good news for Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield, which will all be removed from the watchlist after their local outbreaks have come under sufficient control.

The government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources in these areas.

Gyms and pools in Leicester and casinos and ice rinks in Greater Manchester will reopen as lockdown restrictions were relaxed on Friday.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced sports facilities in Leicester, Blackburn and Bradford will be allowed to reopen from Tuesday.

And on the same day casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas can reopen in most of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Soft play areas will remain closed, and the relaxations will not apply in Bolton.

Restrictions on gatherings will stay in place in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, because officials believe the rate of infection is still too hight.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I'm very glad we've been able to make this change, working with local councils, because local lockdowns are working to control the virus.

"We are seeing improvements in the rates of infection thanks to the huge efforts made by local communities and authorities working alongside our effective Test and Trace system.

"We must stay alert and I continue to encourage everyone to play their part by following local rules, self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms."

  • NHS
  • Coronavirus

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